The transition from purely traditional chemistry toward a chemistry based on building blocks from renewable sources is a key force that is opening the door to new markets and creating products built on new economic, social and environmental strategies.
Although these strategies encountered strong headwinds during the recent years of crisis, the emergence of the bioeconomy, a new concept that represents an effective solution for generating both environmental quality and new growth is now clearly evident. Crucial to the realization of the bioeconomy is the development of integrated, local biorefineries designed to produce innovative biochemicals and bioplastics, which offer a much higher added value compared to existing sites producing energy and biofuels.
Such an integrated model offers a key tool to be wielded in establishing synergies with the agricultural world, breathing new life into older manufacturing sites and restarting production in certain critical or depressed areas, which in turn sparks positive cascading effects in terms of employment, productivity, environmental protection and integration with the traditional oil-based sector. Using renewable raw materials, such as agricultural waste or dedicated sustainable crops, a new chemistry can evolve that is not only synergistic with traditional chemistry, but which also respects the ecosystem and the local biodiversity while at the same time engaging the region in a process of innovation.